#350 Blackwater ‘Pleasure Garden’ Palomino 2020


🔬 Wine of Origin Robertson. 100% Palomino. Winemaker: Francois Haasbroek. The fruit for this wine was harvested from vines planted in 1928 into gravelly, lime-stone rich soils on the VanZylshof estate. The vines are farmed organically, and receive no artificial irrigation (dryland farmed).
Fruit was harvested towards the end of March. 30% of the grapes were crushed and enjoyed a brief maceration on skins, while the other 70% was whole-bunch pressed directly into a concrete egg. The skin-macerated portion was then removed from skins and added to the concrete egg. Fermentation ensued, using only native yeast, and the wine stayed in the egg for 14 months. The wine remained unfined before bottling.
| Alc 12.6% | pH 3.59 | Tot Acid 5.1g / litre | Tot Production 800 bottles |


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Dinosaur wines are important too!

The Palomino cultivar has a rapidly narrowing horizon. The vast majority of the palomino plantings exist in South Western Spain in Andalucia, where it has been used to make Sherry for centuries, and in the past it moments of being the super-in-vogue first choice for sherry producers everywhere.

But over time, other more expressive and aromatic varieties  were discovered, and slowly squeezed Palomino’s relatively neutral character out of the limelight. To make matters worse, even if it had managed to remain a big fish in the small Sherry pond, the sherry market globally is under pressure to adapt or die.

Searching for signs of hope

Looking further afield, the scene is no brighter. In France – where the grape is known as “Listan”, plantings there have dropped by roughly 90% over the last 70 years, and even in South Africa, where is was once widely planted to serve the Brandy industry, the vineyard area has dropped to a dismal 90 hectares, and shows no sign of increasing.
“Even if brandy producers are wanting to increase production, they’ll lean on the far more expressive Chenin Blanc plantings, before they sink their cash into planting a Palomino vineyard. There will eventually be nothing left,” admits winemaker Francois Haasbroek begrdugingly.
But in some senses, makes this relic of a wine from Blackwater more important than ever!
If you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs:


👃🏼 The vanguard is delightfully giving, with overt notes of orange barley candy, fresh cut apples, salted cashews, and lovely little hint of pear cider.
👄 An exquisitely complex palate that opens with sweet yellow apple and touches of tertiary honey. These elements are followed by salted nuts, pineapple, peach fruit and oak-inspired nutmeg spice on the tail.
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